Thursday, April 03, 2008

Democrats Suffer Loss as House Extends SCHIP

The Democratic-led Congress on Wednesday officially waved the white flag of surrender on its top domestic issue: the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. Eleven months and two presidential vetoes after vowing to expand its reach, the House instead passed and sent to President Bush a bill that will essentially continue the program in its current form until 2009.

Democrats had little choice in the matter. With Christmas fast approaching, they were in a fix. They had two health funding emergencies. First, temporary funding for SCHIP — whose authorization technically expired Oct. 1 — was about to run out once again. Second, on Jan. 1, a 10 percent cut in pay to doctors under Medicare was set to take effect — something Democrats, Republicans and the Bush administration agree shouldn't be allowed to happen.

But President Bush and Republicans had nixed most of the ways Democrats wanted to pay for either the Medicare changes or the SCHIP expansion. That basically gave Republicans the upper hand, and left the majority Democrats with little more to do than fume.

"What we have before us gives the lowest common denominator a bad name," said Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee. "It shows the Republicans in their truest form: Help the rich at the expense of the poor and deny government services to anyone and only help the profit industries who pay them so generously through their campaign contributions."

And, adding insult to injury, Republicans insisted on continuing SCHIP at its current funding levels not just until September — as Democrats had wanted — but until March 2009, four months after the November 2008 elections.

"I think this 18-month extension gives us the time we need to make SCHIP an even better program," said House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. "It extends the current program. It increases funding for the current program. It helps the states that have a shortfall."

Nearly half of the states would suffer such funding shortages, according to the Congressional Research Service. It calculated that 21 states will run out of money under the current funding formula by September; 10 of them by March. So the bill includes $800 million for those states.

But that doesn't mean that every child now enrolled in SCHIP could stay on the program; the bill doesn't cancel controversial Bush administration eligibility rules issued last August.

As a result of those rules, "if you live in 14 states in the U.S. ... kids in those states will actually come off the rolls in August," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). "The governors will have to begin to develop plans to notify kids and their parents."

But Emanuel says that may not be such a bad thing for the Democrats, particularly when children start getting bumped off the program.

"August '08 is two months before the election, and I don't think that's a problem," he said. "As a matter of fact, we can't protect the American people from the consequences of the president's decision and a number of Republicans to stand by him. We did right, there was a bipartisan bill to resolve a major problem and give 10 million children health care. We didn't accomplish it. We'll be back. And we'll get it done."

The SCHIP debate, however, might not be over just yet. Congress will be forced to pass yet another health funding bill by next June, because the Medicare doctor payment fix they just passed lasts only six months. And some Democrats say they may try to bring back the SCHIP issue then.

Special Thanks to National Public Radio

Edwards' haircuts cost a pretty penny

Candidate's multiple tonsorial stylings cost over $200 a clip

Looking pretty is costing John Edwards' presidential campaign a lot of pennies. The Democrat's campaign committee picked up the tab for two haircuts at $400 each by celebrity stylist Joseph Torrenueva of Beverly Hills, Calif., according to a financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

FEC records show Edwards also availed himself of $250 in services from a trendy salon and spa in Dubuque, Iowa, and $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, N.H., which is described on its Web site as "a unique boutique for the mind, body and face" that caters mostly to women.

A spokeswoman for Edwards' campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Torrenueva - who specializes in men's haircuts - confirmed in an interview with The Associated Press that Edwards is a longtime client and friend.

"I do cut his hair and I have cut it for quite a while," Torrenueva said. "We've been friends a long time."

Referring to a picture of Edwards published Tuesday in The Los Angeles Times, Torrenueva said: "That's my cut." The stylist said he couldn't vouch for the source of Edwards' haircuts in other photos. Message board
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High priced stylings
One reason the cost of the cut was so steep even by Beverly Hills standards is that Torrenueva went to Edwards rather than the candidate coming into the stylist's salon a block off Rodeo Drive.

"I go to him wherever convenient," Torrenueva said. He declined to identify where the cuts paid for by the campaign took place.

Campaign records also show the former North Carolina senator's campaign paid $248 on March 1 to the Designworks Salon in Dubuque.

According to Designworks' Web site, the salon and spa features a wide variety of beauty and health services, including massages, facials, body polishes, self tanners, and rosemary mint and Caribbean therapy body wraps. Politics

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The salon's owners did not return a call.

Edwards, 53, who has made alleviating poverty the central theme of candidacy, has been criticized for building a 28,000-square-foot house for $5.3 million near Chapel Hill, N.C. The complex of several buildings on 102 acres includes an indoor basketball court, an indoor pool and a handball court.

Edwards, who was John Kerry's vice presidential runningmate in 2004, is also the subject of a YouTube spoof poking fun at his youthful good looks. The video shows the candidate combing his tresses to the dubbed-in tune of "I Feel Pretty."

In 1993, Cristophe gave former President Clinton a $200 haircut aboard Air Force One as it sat on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. Late-night comedians and columnists poked fun at the president for the expensive cut.

Special Thanks to MSNBC

Awareness Ribbons

Red Ribbon = Aids/HIV, substance abuse, MADD, DARE, Epidermolysis Bullosa, love, heart disease- (also uses the red dress symbol), Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW),

Pink Ribbon = Breast Cancer, Birth Parents

Orange Ribbon = Hunger, leukemia, cultural diversity and racial tolerance, feral cats, motorcyclist safety, Multiple Sclerosis -wristband only, self injury, Agent Orange exposure

Yellow Ribbon = Support our troops, POW/MIA, suicide prevention, adoptive parents, spina biffida, missing children (amber alert), endometriosis, sarcoma, bladder cancer, liver disease and liver cancer, hydrocephalus or hydrocephaly, hope in general

Green Ribbon = Tissue and organ donation, depression (both adults and children), bipolar disorder, mental health or illness, eye injuries, Tourette's Syndrome, bone marrow transplants and donation, worker and driving safety, glaucoma, missing children, leukemia, environment, kidney cancer or kidney disease, neural tube defects, Mitochondrial Disease, growth and rebuilding, Cerebral Palsy

Dark Blue Ribbon (Navy) = Child abuse prevention, arthritis, free speech, crime victims rights, water quality, colon cancer, hystiocytosis, domestic violence, water safety (flooding, drowning and accidents), Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), interstitial cystitis, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Reyes Syndrome, education, short bowel syndrome, Myositis, Leukodystrophy, Hurricane Support, police officers lost in the line of duty (AKA, the Thin Blue Line)

Purple Ribbon = Domestic violence, religious tolerance, animal abuse, the victims of 9/11 (includes police and firefighters), pancreatic cancer, Chron's Disease and colitis, cystic fibrosis, leimyosarcoma, macular degeneration, Sjogren's Syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, sarcoidosis, the homeless, thyroid cancer, ADD, ADHD, alzheimers, cancer survivor (this is a general color that anyone who has survived cancer can wear)

White Ribbon = Innocence, victims of terrorism, peace, right to life, diabetes, sexual assault of students, retinal blastoma, alzheimers, adoption, bone disease and bone cancer, anti-child pornography on the internet

Black Ribbon = Mourning, melanoma, anti-gangs, Anti-terrorism in Spain, POW-MIAs, Amish support

Brown Ribbon = Anti-tobacco, colorectal cancer

Gray Ribbon = Diabetes, brain cancer, asthma and allergies

Lime Green Ribbon - Lymphoma, Lyme Disease, Muscular Dystrophy-wristband only, Sandhoff Disease

Teal Ribbon = Ovarian, cervical, uterine (all gynecological) cancers, substance abuse, sexual assault, Myasthenia Gravis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Burgundy Ribbon = Hospice care, multiple myeloma, cesarean sections, headaches and migraines, thrombophilia

Periwinkle = Eating disorders, pulmonary hypertension, stomach cancer, GERD, IBS

Pale Yellow Ribbon = Spina biffida

Peach Ribbon = Uterine Cancer, Endometrial Cancer

Light Green Ribbon = Pelvic Pain (chronic), Celiac Disease

Light Blue Ribbon = Prostate cancer, thyroid disease, lymphedema, Trisomy 18, scleroderma, Graves Disease

Lavender Ribbon = All cancers (general cancer awareness), epilepsy, rett syndrome, foster care

Pearl Ribbon = lung cancer and lung disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Mesothelioma

Silver Ribbon = Children with disabilities, Parkinson's Disease, any diseases or disorders of the brain including strokes, elderly abuse

Gold Ribbon = Childhood Cancer

Clear Ribbon = Lung cancer and lung disease, Multiple Sclerosis (secondary to prism)

Light Baby Pink and Blue Ribbon = Pregnancy and infant loss, SIDS, Male breast cancer

Red and WhiteRibbon = Head and neck cancer, aplastic anemia

Red and Yellow Ribbon = Hepatitis C

Red, White and Blue Ribbon = Patriotism, 9/11 victims

Red and Blue with a Heart Ribbon = Congenital Heart Defects (also red,blue and red stripes)

Blue And Yellow = Down Syndrome, designated drivers (The Hero Campaign)

Purple Ribbon with a Red rose Ribbon = Cystic Fibrosis

Purple And Green Ribbon = Hospice And Pallative Care

Purple And Blue Ribbon = Pediatric Stroke

Purple and Yellow Ribbon = Chemical Injury (any chemical related boo boos)

Jigsaw Puzzle Ribbon = Autism

Orchid and Orange Ribbon = psoriasis

Lime Green and Aqua Ribbon = adult stem cell donor

Teal And Pink Ribbon = Hereditary Breast Cancer or a combo ribbon for gynecological and breast cancers

Black and Pink Ribbon = Bone Marrow Donor, loss of a daughter

Black and Lt. Blue Ribbon = Loss of a son

Black and White Ribbon = Carcinoid Syndrome Cancer (zebra stripes) and anti-racism

Black White And Black (three stripes) Ribbon = Vaccine danger

Gold and Black Ribbon = Platelett donor

Ivory, Burgundy and Ivory Ribbon = Oral head and neck cancer

Yellow, Lime Green, Orange, Aqua, Hot Pink Ribbon = Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow Ribbon = STD awareness

Pink Ribbon :
Meaning: Most commonly associated with breast cancer awareness, this ribbon is also a symbol for birth parents, and childhood cancer awareness (alternative color: light blue)
We also now have a store offering pink ribbon clothing and pink ribbon items for the home and office.

Yellow Ribbon :
Meaning: We've all seen this symbol used to support our troops, but it is also a symbol for MIA/POW, suicide prevention, adoptive parents, amber alerts, bladder cancer, spina bifida, endometriosis, and a general symbol for hope. A yellow ribbon with a heart is used to represent the survivors left behind after a suicide.

Pale Yellow Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of spina bifida

Red Ribbon :
Meaning: Most commonly associated with the fight against AIDS and HIV, this ribbon also is a symbol for heart disease, stroke, substance abuse, MADD, DARE, Epidermolysis Bullosa, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
We also now have a store offering red ribbon clothing and red ribbon items for the home and office.

Burgundy Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of brain aneurysm, Cesarean section (worn upside down), headaches, hemangioma, vascular malformation, hospice care, multiple myeloma, William's syndrome, Thrombophilia, Antiphospholid Antibody Syndrome, and adults with disabilities

Purple Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, domestic violence, ADD, alzheimer's, religious tolerance, animal abuse, the victims of 9/11 including the police and firefighters, Crohn's disease and colitis, cystic fibrosis, lupus, leimyosarcoma, and fibromyalgia

Lavender Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol for general cancer awareness. It can also be a symbol for epilepsy, and rett syndrome

Periwinkle Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of eating disorders and pulmonary hypertension

Blue Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of drunk driving, child abuse, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), the victims of hurricane Katrina, dystonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alopecia, Education, Epstein-Barr Virus, Save the Music, colon cancer (alternative ribbon color: brown), colorectal cancer (alternative ribbon color: brown), and anti-tobacco - particularly anti-second hand smoke (in Canada; alternative ribbon color: brown), I Love Clean Air/ILCA Campaign (Japan)

Dark Blue Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of arthritis, child abuse prevention, victim's rights, free speech, water quality, and water safety

Light Blue Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of childhood cancer (alternative color: pink), prostate cancer, Trisomy 18, and scleroderma

Teal Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol for ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers as well as sexual assault, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and tsunami victims

Green Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of childhood depression, missing children, open records for adoptees, environmental concerns, kidney cancer, tissue/organ donation, homeopathy, and worker and driving safety

Orange Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of leukemia, hunger, cultural diversity, humane treatment of animals, and self-injury awareness
We also now have a store offering orange ribbon clothing and orange ribbon items for the home and office.

White Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of innocence, victims of terrorism, violence against women, peace, right to life, bone cancer, adoptees, and retinal blastoma

Pearl Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol for emphysema, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and multiple sclerosis

Black Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of mourning, melanoma, and gang prevention

Brown Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is an anti-tobacco symbol as well as a symbol of colon cancer (alternative ribbon color: blue), colorectal cancer (alternative ribbon color: blue)

Grey Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol of diabetes, asthma, and brain cancer

Silver Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol for children with disabilities, Parkinson's disease, and mental illnesses such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.

Gold Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol for childhood cancer

Jigsaw Puzzle Ribbon:
Meaning: This style of ribbon is a symbol for autism

Lace Ribbon:
Meaning: This style of ribbon is a symbol for osteoporosis

Pink and Blue Ribbon:
Meaning: This style of ribbon is a symbol for miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death due to SIDS or other causes

Flag Ribbon:
Meaning: This style of ribbon is a symbol for both the victims and heros of the 9/11 attacks. It is also a symbol of patriotism and support of our troops. In addition, it is a symbol of fireworks safety.

Rainbow Ribbon:
Meaning: This style of ribbon is a symbol of gay pride and support for the GLBT community and their quest for equal rights.

Annual Japanese Fertility Festival